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Japan escalates war on gold smuggling

Tokyo to dispatch investigators to gateway cities, seek higher fines

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Japan's sales tax creates an incentive for customs-dodging gold smugglers, officials say.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan will intensify its crackdown on gold illegally brought into the country, placing investigative teams in major aviation hubs and toughening aircraft checks under new measures to be announced Tuesday.

The new enforcement push comes amid a surge in activity by bullion smugglers seeking to profit from tax differences between Japan and neighboring countries. Japan booked 467 such incidents in the year through June 2017, up 60% from a year earlier. Evaded taxes soared 40% to an estimated 873 million yen ($7.67 million). 

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